Sleep apnea is a very common disorder that impacts more than 18 million men, women, and children across the country. The diagnoses, which literally means “without breath” in Greek, causes patients to develop obstructions in their air passages, which causes them to stop breathing for short intervals while they sleep. If the patient is deprived of oxygen for long enough, sleep apnea can be can be a life-threatening condition. Otherwise, the side effects of sleep apnea have a remarkably negative impact on a patient. The poor quality of sleep that people who suffer from sleep apnea live with causes them to experience migraines, heart conditions, mental disorders, and exhaustion. Sometimes, the secondary health effects of sleep apnea can be life threatening themselves. For this reason, it is very important for people who potentially suffer from sleep apnea to recognize the symptoms and seek help. After receiving a sleep apnea diagnoses, patients can consider treatment options, such as CPAP machine supplies, that significantly improve their way of life.
Indications that you may have sleep apnea.
Since the symptoms of sleep apnea occur while the patient is asleep, is not uncommon for patients who have sleep apnea to not even realize it. Many times, the first indication that the patient could have a health condition impairing their quality of sleep comes from a partner who shares a bed with the patient, as the most obvious signs of sleep apnea are that the patient snores loudly, and gasps for air in their sleep. Otherwise, people with sleep apnea who do not share a bed with a partner may go years without getting a diagnoses that could improve their quality of life.
Aside from snoring symptoms, which you may not be aware of, additional signs that you may have sleep apnea include:
- Being excessively sleepy throughout the day.
- Startling yourself awake for no aparent reason, and feelling out of breath, as if you’ve been running.
- Waking up in the morning with a sharp headache.
- Difficulty concentrating throughout the day, or remembering things.
- Awakening with a dry mouth and sore throat.
- Experiencing elevated blood pressure, particularly if there are no obvious reasons for it.
Sleep Apnea Causes
As you can imagine, sleep apnea can be a very dangerous condition, aggravated by the following physical factors:
- Being overweight. A majority of sleep apnea patients suffer from obesity.
- Broad neck circumference. Having a wider than average neck puts additional pressure on the air passages, and sometimes indicates narrower airways.
- Genetics. If you have a family member who suffers from sleep apnea, you may have a higher risk of having it yourself.
- Smoking. Tobacco causes the air passages to swell, and narrows the room for oxygen to pass through. According to the Mayo Clinic, smokers are 300% more likely to have sleep apnea.
- Use of alcohol. Alcohol has a relaxing impact on the muscles, which can cause them to collapse in sleep apnea patients.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea Patients
The most effective way for treating sleep apnea is with CPAP machine supplies. CPAP machine supplies are composed of an oxygen machine connected to a CPAP mask Or CPAP nasal pillows that gently pushes air through the patient’s airways while they sleep, preventing obstructions and oxygen deprivation.
Aside from CPAP machine supplies, some patients with milder conditions find relief from their sleep apnea through a variety of treatments:
- Avoiding alcohol or cigarettes.
- Focusing on sleeping positions that reduce the occurrence of blockages in the airways.
- Losing weight and developing healthy lifestyle habits that reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.
- Using a sleep apnea mouthpiece that prevents the sleep apnea patient’s tongue from slumping over their airway and closing their air passages.
In extreme cases, surgical treatments are used to improve sleep apnea symptoms. The surgical treatments include:
- Removing the tissue blocking the airways
- Repositioning the jaw
- Removing the tonsils and adenoids.
- Opening an airway in the patient’s throat (obviously this option is only used in life or death circumstances).
If you suffers from the symptoms of sleep apnea, it can have a debilitating impact on every aspect of your life. Talking to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing and being considered for sleep apnea can significantly improve your comfort, health, and enjoyment of life.